Yankees Minor League Notebook for April 15th

Eric Duncan lighting up Midwest League pitching; Beam spins a gem in Battle Creek victory; Estee Harris lost at the plate; Thunder bats silent after four day layoff; Navarro cooled off by New Hampshire pitching; Tampa puts 15 on the board as they crush Sarasota; Yes, Rudy Guillen is still hot, picking up another two hit game; Verbryke with 3 RBI night; Vento snaps out of slump with three hit night; Bragg now 7 out of his last 9. All this and more in this edition of Yankees Minor League Notebook.

Columbus Clippers. The Clippers were able to stay out of the cellar with a win over Charlotte on Thursday night and got good all around performances from their pitching and offense as well. Nerio Rodriguez got the ball for Columbus on this night and was vastly more effective than his first start of the season less than a week ago. Nerio went 6 innings, surrendering 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 6 and only walking 1. Columbus had a good night with the sticks in this one. Jeff Deardorff was the big offensive hero for the Clippers in this one as he had two hits, a home run and 4 RBI. Deardorff raised his season batting average to .261. Even after four days off, Darren Bragg is still the hottest hitter on the Columbus roster. Bragg had another three hits on Thursday and now has 7 hits in his last 9 at bats! Two of Bragg's hits were doubles and he now has a huge .409 season batting average. The good story and also a very relieving sight as well on this night for the Clippers was that Mike Vento broke out of one of the most horrific slumps that his career has seen in a while. Vento finally picked up his first hit of the year but decided not to stop there. Vento went on to have three hits in this game and raised his season batting average .150 points. Also with two RBI in this game was 2b, Caonabo Cosme who is batting .368 on the season. Starting pitcher, Nerio Rodriguez picked up the win in this game as he picks up his first win of the year.


Trenton Thunder. The offense was nearly silent for the Trenton Thunder on this night after they had a long four day lay off due to heavy rains in Trenton and along the east coast. The Thunder only picked up four hits in this one and never had a true rally going throughout the game. The four hits were picked up by four different players as not one player had an outstanding game. The red hot Mitch Jones picked up a single in this game but did not continue his quick barrage of home runs. J.T. Stotts has been very consistent for the Trenton Thunder and once again picked up a single in this one. Hits were also had by Ferdin Tejada who put up a fencepost and by Aaron Rifkin who picked up a single as well. Rifkin has been perhaps the thunder's most consistent all around player early on in this season. He is batting .333 on the year. Mitch Jones has been hot and leads the team with a .385 batting average. Dioner Navarro was cooled off by the New Hampshire pitching staff and was held hitless in the contest. Despite picking up a single, Ferdin Tejada still appears lost at the plate and is only batting .067. Chien-Ming Wang took the loss in this game but did not pitch terribly. He was on a short leash on Thursday so he was limited to only 4 2/3 innings despite giving up only 2 runs on three hits. Wang also struck out 5 and walked 3.


Tampa Yankees. The Tampa Yankee offense absolutely exploded on Thursday night against Sarasota. They didn't put half a dozen runs up, or even a dozen, they put up 15! Tampa scored 15 runs on 15 hits as they took this one easily 15-2. To put it into perspective, Tampa had six hitters with two hit games and 9 players that had a hit or more. With all these runs, there was not a single home run hit by Tampa. Eric Verbryke was swinging a big stick on this night as he slashed 2 hits, one of which was a double while picking up 3 RBI. Also with two hit games were Rudy Guillen who is simply on fire, Bronson Sardinha, Gabe Lopez, Tommy Winrow, and Deivi Mendez. Rudy Guillen has his batting average in the stratosphere at .444. Bronson Sardinha is not far behind the team lead with his .423 average. Despite huge offensive night as a team, Jose Enrique Cruz still remains lost at the plate as he has yet to get a hit this season. Gabe Lopez, Rudy Guillen and Manuel Mejia all had two RBI apiece. Almost all the struggling hitters were able to break out tonight and the hot hitters remained hot. On the pitching end of the spectrum, Jose Valdez was superb in his 5 innings of work. Valdez surrendered 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 7 and walking only one. Valdez picked up the win and evens up his record at 1-1.


Battle Creek Yankees. Battle Creek seems to have finally pulled out of their team offensive slump and their pitching continues to click on all cylinders. T.J. Beam was on the mound for Battle Creek on Thursday and he pitched an absolute gem. He pitched 6 innings, surrendering zero runs on only two hits while walking one and fanning 6. Beam lowered his season ERA to a miniscule 1.80. On the offensive end, every hitter in the lineup with the exception of Hector Made and Estee Harris picked up at least one hit on the night. Shining the brightest for BC was phenom prospect Eric Duncan who has all of a sudden become sizzling hot. Duncan picked up three hits on the night and raised his season batting average to a superb .330; he leads the team. The young 3b blasted his first home run of the season on this night while also picking up an RBI and a run scored. Melky Cabrera also smacked two hits on Thursday, picking up 2 RBI and a run scored. The formerly hot Hector Made went silent in this one, going hitless. John Urick has been red hot all season long and he continued his tear on this night as well. Urick hit two doubles on the night. Rafael Rodriguez also had two hits and an RBI. Picking up RBI's too in this game were Bryce Kartler, Omir Santos and Hector Made. Out of the bullpen, Heath Castle had a horrendous 8th inning performance in which he gave up all five Fort Wayne runs and now has a bloated 12.27 ERA. T.J Beam picked up the win and evened his season record at 1-1.

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